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Mode matching in multiresonant plasmonic nanoantennas for enhanced second harmonic generation


Boosting nonlinear frequency conversion in extremely confined volumes remains a challenge in nano-optics research1, but can enable applications in nanomedicine2, photocatalysis3 and background-free biosensing4. To obtain brighter nonlinear nanoscale sources, approaches that enhance the electromagnetic field intensity and counter the lack of phase matching in nanoplasmonic systems are often employed5,6,7,8. However, the high degree of symmetry in the crystalline structure of plasmonic materials (metals in particular) and in nanoantenna designs strongly quenches second harmonic generation5. Here, we describe doubly-resonant single-crystalline gold nanostructures with no axial symmetry9 displaying spatial mode overlap at both the excitation and second harmonic wavelengths. The combination of these features allows the attainment of a nonlinear coefficient for second harmonic generation of 5 × 10–10 W–1, enabling a second harmonic photon yield higher than 3 × 106 photons per second. Theoretical estimations point toward the use of our nonlinear plasmonic nanoantennas as efficient platforms for label-free molecular sensing.

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Figure 1: Working principle and design of the mode-matched SHG antenna.
Figure 2: Nanofabricated ultrasmooth antennas with tailored geometry.
Figure 3: Single nanostructure scattering spectra as a function of antenna geometry.
Figure 4: Confocal maps and characterization of SHG from the tunable antenna array.


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The authors thank V. Kumar and T. Zandrini for valuable help and R. Sapienza for stimulating discussions. M.C., M.F., C.D.A. and A.L. acknowledge support from Fondazione Cariplo through the project SHAPES (2013-0736). G.C. acknowledges support from the EC through the Graphene Flagship project (CNECT-ICT-604391). This work was performed in the context of the European COST Action MP1302 Nanospectroscopy.

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Authors and Affiliations



M.C. and M.F. conceived the project. X.W. and B.H. fabricated the sample. S.G. and B.H. performed linear spectroscopy. M.C., M.B. and P.B. performed linear and nonlinear microscopy experiments and FDTD simulations. A.L. and C.D.A. performed FEM simulations. G.C. and R.O. designed and optimized the nonlinear excitation set-up. M.C. and M.F. analysed the data and co-wrote the manuscript. L.D. and F.C. supervised the project. All authors discussed the results and participated in manuscript preparation.

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Correspondence to Michele Celebrano.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Celebrano, M., Wu, X., Baselli, M. et al. Mode matching in multiresonant plasmonic nanoantennas for enhanced second harmonic generation. Nature Nanotech 10, 412–417 (2015).

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